Eyes That See

“I Once Was Blind”

Abortion: Only One Valid Defense

There is no valid defense for the legality of abortion, save one.  The heart of the abortion debate is the personhood of the unborn.  The defense of the legality of abortion, therefore, rests on the argument that the unborn are not persons.  Aside from this argument, all the others in defense of legalized abortion fall apart.  Let me demonstrate.

The common “back-alley, coathanger” argument falls apart if you grant personhood to the unborn.  In this country it is illegal to commit murder, regardless of the location.  The fact that murder is illegal in, say, libraries, surely causes more murders to take place in back-alleys.  This does not mean that we should allow murder so long as it takes place in libraries, on the basis of the argument that allowing it in libraries would cause a decrease in back-alley murders.  So it is that, if we grant personhood to the unborn, then our only recourse is to criminalize abortion, both in clinics and in back-alleys.  Just as back-alley murders do not justify library murders, so back-alley abortions do not justify clinical abortions.  If the unborn are persons, then abortion is murder, both in the back-alley and in the clinic.

Therefore, the “back-alley, coathanger” argument is not a valid one, because it rests upon the argument that the unborn are not persons.  If the unborn are not persons, then we are merely talking about a “part of the woman’s body” or a “blob of tissue,” and the argument that “clean and safe” abortions by “licensed and experienced professionals” is valid.  But, if the unborn are persons, then legalized abortion in clinics is as absurd as legalized murder in libraries. 

Similarly, all other arguments in favor of legalized abortion rest on denying the personhood of the unborn.  The mother’s rights, abilities, desires, etc. do not allow her to end the life of her born child, and, if unborn children are deemed persons, they should not allow her to end the life of her unborn child either. That a mother was raped does not allow her to end the life of her child after birth, so even rape should not allow her to end the life of her unborn child- once again, if her unborn child is a person. That a child has a disablity, is unwanted and unloved, or merely inconvenient does not justify ending his life outside of the womb, and if he is a person, these circumstances do not justify ending his life inside the womb.

This leaves us with only one valid argument in favor of abortion, that being that the unborn are not persons.  However, that an argument is valid does not make it right.  My purpose here was merely to simplify the issue and to identify its heart.  Those who are pro-choice identify themselves as such, at the end of the day, because they deny the personhood of the unborn.  Those who are pro-life identify themselves as such, at the end of the day, because they affirm the personhood of the unborn.  This explains why each side’s arguments seem absurd to the other.  If the unborn are persons, then pro-choice arguments are absurd.  And, if the unborn are not persons, then pro-life arguments are absurd.

Now that we have identified the heart of the issue, the next step is surgery.  Now that we have identified the heart of the defense of abortion, let us cut it out.  Two-hundred and fifty-five years passed between the institution of slavery in this country and Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Another hundred years passed until Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech and the civil rights movement, where, for all intents and purposes, the Declaration of Independence was ammended to read, “all men, both black and white, are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights… namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.” How many years will pass between 1973 and the day when all men, both black and white, both born and unborn, enjoy the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

It is sad but true that it was necessary to clarify that both black people and white people possess these inalienable rights.  It is sad but true that it is now necessary to clarify that both the born and the unborn, as persons, possess these rights.  Just as white people had to be denied the “right” to “choose” to buy and sell and own black people in this country, because black people are indubitably persons; so a mother must be denied the “right” to “choose” abortion, because the unborn are indubitably persons as well.

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June 16, 2009 - Posted by | Life

2 Comments »

  1. Very well put. Thanks for putting this into proper perspective and shattering the pro-choice arguments.

    Comment by everythingforareason | June 16, 2009 | Reply

  2. Great article. Have you heard of Personhood USA? It is a group that tries to start up initiatives (i.e. ballot measures) to amend the constitution of the states so that the word person includes the preborn.

    Comment by Gualberto | June 16, 2009 | Reply


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